Analyst: Battery Life Still a Concern for RIM's Playbook, Flash at Fault

After reports surfaced that Research In Motion's upcoming PlayBook tablet might suffer from poor battery performance, RIM was quick to downplay the issue. According to RIM, any testing done on existing units were performed on pre-beta versions of the PlayBook, all of which didn't have any power management schemes built in. When the final product ships, battery life will be comparable to other tablets, RIM said.

Sounds plausible, but according to Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu, it's still unlikely the PlayBook will offer "anywhere near the battery life of the iPad at 10 hours unless it uses a larger battery." Wu gives three reasons why he believes this.

First, and biggest among them, is Flash support. According to Wu, Flash will drag the PlayBook's battery performance down, perhaps as much as in half. Secondly, Wu points to the QNX operating system, which wasn't designed for the PlayBook and instead meant for devices that draw more power. And finally, Wu says that RIM's implementation of power management isn't as slick as that of Apple's.

All told, Wu says the best the PlayBook can hope for is six hours of battery life, the same as the Galaxy Tab, and about half of what is offered by the iPad. And that's only after "significant re-engineering," he says.